The Origins Of Self-Winding Watches 1773 - 1779

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The Origins Of Self-Winding Watches 1773 - 1779

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by Richard Watkins

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(This publication is kindly provided by the author for free download on The Naked Watchmaker)

In 1949 Pierre Huguenin wrote the prophetic words:

The events relating to “automatic watches” multiply. It is like a detective novel, with successive new ideas, changes of situations, the unexpected, and the passion that surrounds “the affair”.

The first edition of this book was printed in January 2014, and it was distributed in England, Europe and America in February and March 2014. I thought that I had completed a task and I could move on to other work. But that was not to be.

During the following six months a large amount of new information was found, including many documents, an important watch movement and a watch design that had not been described before.

At first I thought that this new material could be included in an addendum to the first edition. Although it needed to be published, it did not alter my conclusions, summarised in the second chapter of “Origins”. And so reprinting the whole book with all the additions seemed unnecessary.

That was until Bernard Roobaert politely told me that I had made a serious mistake in the transcript and translation of one fundamental document, the diary of de Saussure. When I corrected this embarrassing error, I found that it had serious implications for the dating and interpretation of other events. Although my conclusions remained the same, it became clear that the changes and the new information could not be presented in an article, and a new edition of “Origins” was needed.